Summer. It was lovely to see you today, after such a long time apart from one another.
Let the good times roll.
Home for me now is here. 11 Langham House. It is the eighteenth front door of my life.
I have paid income tax to four different governments; put money into a pension scheme in Australia and Japan, but never New Zealand.
I lived in Wellington for six of the last ten years. But I am not 'from there'. I was born in Pahiatua, but never lived there.
When I think of home, I don't think of New Zealand. I'm not proud of that, but that is just how my head works. I don't think of Huffer hoodies, L&P, roast lamb or 'Country Calendar'.
While I may struggle to call New Zealand home, there is a small piece of space within that country which is very much a home to me.
Down Evans Road, take the first right - opposite the (now) free-range egg farm. Head down the gravel drive, past mum's vege garden filled with fountains of silver beet, and through the garage door. Up the hall, into the lounge and out onto the deck. The deck that my dad built with his own hands.
If you sit on the edge of that deck, leaning on a pole, you get a view over the rolling backyard Dad used to mow in different patterns every Saturday. Each time replicating a famous sports ground. 'We'll do Eden Park today' he would say.
Twenty years ago that deck you sit on was uniform in colour, with all the nails diligently keeping their heads down and backs straight. Now it tells the stories of a thousand days of sunshine; the scars of pet dogs, cats, chickens and children. If you listen very closely, it will tell you stories of the Al fresco dinners, post-wedding lunches, ruby wedding anniversary parties. Or maybe you will hear about that magical time we all sat around, playing the guitar, singing, and just 'being' in the warmth of the afternoon.
Yes, this rectangular piece of 'dad-made' nature is where I call home.
Complete with Sunday morning bed hair and an obvious late night carved into my face.
Later in the day, When the melt leaves only the snow men and women behind.